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Old 03-01-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
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Home Depot Fluorescent Bulbs?

I have a 40 gallon freshwater tank with 5 red minor tetras, a weather (dojo) loach, 4 giant danios, 5 black skirt tetras, a pictus catfish, a yoyo loach, and 1 blood fin tetra. I'm running an Emperor 400 and two internal Whisper 30i filters; two airstones, and a U.V. sterilizer. Now down to my question. . . I have two 36" 30 watt bulbs running on a Coralife electronic two bulb ballast. The lights go on at 11:30 am and off at 10:00 pm. I feed the fish once, every other day. One of my bulbs is a Coralife Color Max bulb and the other is a standard 4200K fluorescent from the Home Depot. I've got an out of control brown algae problem that I can't figure out how to stop. I've noticed that the gravel in the front of the tank right under the home depot bulb is covered in the brown algae, while the gravel in the back that is shaded by decorations, but gets dim Coralife bulb exposure, has no algae at all. Is it possible that the home depot bulb is giving off a spectrum of light that is favorable to algae that aquatic bulbs wouldn't?
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:53 PM   #2
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Organisms will respond differently to different types of lighting, but that does not mean you have to spend the extra coin to buy bulbs labeled for aquariums. Switching to a different $3 bulb (perhaps one labeled 6700K or daylight) may provide the same results as purchasing another $12 Coralife product. There may be other factors involved, though. Bulb age for example - over time, the light produced will change quite a bit, though it may not be apparent to our eyes. This could have quite an impact on what will grow under it.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:58 PM   #3
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I would also significantly reduce your photo period. Are you growing any live plants? If not, get the lights down to as little time as possible. If you are growing live plants, 10hrs if enough to grow out plants, and 8 is usually enough to maintain a scape.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:57 AM   #4
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It's a fish only tank, so no plants. Will cutting the light by two hours really make any difference? This brown algae seems to cover everything and once it picks up momentum, there's nothing slowing it down. I'm currently trying two of the Coralife Color Max bulbs to see if the Home Depot bulbs could be accelerating the situation. Any additional input would be welcome.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:09 AM   #5
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snails/an algae eater.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:15 AM   #6
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cut your lighting time in half at least I have a 29 gallon that basically lives off of the natural lighting of the house. I only turn the light on to feed the fish. No algae at all!
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:51 AM   #7
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Have you tested your water for nitrates and phosphates? Both your tank and source water? There are lots of factors the affect algae, lighting type and duration being just 2.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:39 AM   #8
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In fact adding certain plants can actually reduce algae growth by removing excess nutrients from the water.
Hornwort is one example of a plant that is rumored to limit algae growth.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:50 AM   #9
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With no fish, turn the lights on when you want to observe/feed the fish. Other than that, leave 'em off.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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Brown algae, which is actually a diatom, is typical of new tank setups. It tends to run it's course and then gradually recede. Oto cats will eat it. Unless the room is exceptionally dark, fish do fine without a light over the tank. You can light it only when you are around to view it if you wish. I have 4 tanks that have no dedicated light source at all. Photo period may have less to do with brown algae than with green.
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